May 11th, 2020

Ulaca de Milo
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Times 27661 - When Horryd Met the God-intoxicated Man

A very neat and tidy Monday puzzle, offering something for everyone without ever threatening towards the overtaxing. A few chestnuts, a trip down memory lane to one of Monty Python's best known skits (SAY. NO. MORE.), a tantalising glimpse into the childhood of one of our own, a rather nice little cryptic definition and a reference to an enlightenment philosopher who baffles most people (possibly including himself) combined to make this a very pleasant sub-20 solve for me.

I am expecting fast times from the usual suspects: Magoo, Verlaine, Jason, Heardy and the Snitchmeister.


1 Mothballs, feature of a wardrobe? (7)
SHELVES - double definition (DD), one whimsical; very nice
5 Order shed to be picked up (5)
CASTE - sounds like 'cast'
9 One from sultanate soon to be recalled (5)
OMANI - reversal of IN A MO
10 Tough coming together around sport (9)
GRUELLING - RU in GELLING; see 'sport', think rugby union (RU)
11 Betrays count — and his successor? (5,2)
TELLS ON - TELL in the sense of to count votes + SON (whimsical consanguinity); rather nice too
12 Model mostly impressive, in my opinion (7)
13 What makes Salerno
a famous city (3,7)
NEW ORLEANS - anagram* of SALERNO, marked by and including NEW; this place is known to me via its football team, Salernitana, which crept into Serie A once
15 Stuff to knock back? It’ll make you tiddly (4)
MARC - reversal of CRAM; MARC is a drink preferred by crossword setters to its Italian equivalent grappa, because it's handier for filling in grids
18 Story’s a hoot, on reflection (4)
SAGA - reversal of A GAS
20 Toy with ape’s wobbly nose (10)
PEASHOOTER - APES* HOOTER; who didn't have images of horryd terrorising the pipsqueaks at his prep school when they read this?
23 Popular novelist continues to work in kitchen? (7)
COOKSON - COOKS ON; Catherine Cookson wrote more than 100 books, none of which I have read. Perhaps Olivia or myrtilus or one of the TLS crowd can tell us more...
24 Manage to do it across the pond (4,3)
MAKE OUT - DD and a bit of a naughty one, to boot; while 'How did you make out?' means 'How did you manage?' to upstanding folk, to some Americans, I'm afraid, it means something that could have been lifted straight from the pages of my current reading, The 1,001 Nights. Not just canoodling, but full on...SAY. NO. MORE.
25 Lying tout beaten up? It wasn’t me! (3,6)
26 Past poetically revealed by wizened local, looking back (5)
OLDEN - reverse hidden in the preantepenultimate and antepenultimate words
27 Prod naked figure holding Gorgon’s head (5)
NUDGE - G[orgon] in NUDE; a nod is as good as a wink to a blind bat...
28 Yankee bruiser in Bow, a worker on the tracks (7)
YARDMAN - Y (NATO speak for the letter Y) 'ARDMAN (a tough Cockney, alwight?)


1 Frivolous conduct entertains everyone (7)
SHALLOW - ALL in SHOW (frivolous conduct)
2 English teacher cautious in absence of head delegate (8)
EMISSARY - E MISS (teacher) [w]ARY
3 Picky eater’s vehicle containing 50% eggs (5)
VEGAN - EG[gs] in VAN; nice definition
4 Foolishly sneer at US wine (9)
SAUTERNES - SNEER AT US*; when I was courting my wife, I took her to a restaurant before heading to the comedy club next door. Instead of Sancerre, I ordered a bottle of Sauternes with the meal. Needless to say, we didn't finish it. I think she found that funnier than the scheduled comedy.
5 Dog runs away from pitman (6)
6 A last note turning up down under, written by a philosopher (7)
SPINOZA - PS ('A last note') reversed ('turning up') IN OZ ('down under'...'written by...') A (a); Baruch Spinoza, a great influence on Coleridge. I sometimes feel my job is redundant, so if you didn't bother to work out the cryptic for this, a shout-out would be a tremendous fillip for me. Thanks.
7 Ship, heading off, symbol of military might? (5)
EAGLE - [b]EAGLE; one of Darwin's ships, as it were
8 Claims guard’s involved in more than one scam (8)
CONTENDS -TEND (guard) in CONS (more than on scam)
14 Stop daughter leaving new partner for good (9)
ETERNALLY - [d]ETER ('stop', D[aughter] leaving) N ALLY
16 Looking after eccentric cigar nut (8)
17 A Reading fan?
BOOKWORM - cryptic definition; this will mislead some by directing them to the Madejski Stadium in the Royal County of Berkshire; elegant and pithy
19 Crew suggested changing leader (7)
GLOATED - [G for f]LOATED; very good too. 'CREW' as in boasted
21 Rum in fashion briefly, as are grapes (7)
22 Convince Jenny to go by river (6)
ASSURE - ASS (Jenny or donkey) URE (river oop north)
23 A clergyman and all his works? (5)
CANON - nice DD
24 Chief has judge succeeded by unknown official (5)
MAYOR - MAJOR (chief) has its J replaced by Y (unknown); 'succeed' in its sense of taking the place left by, or taking over